The Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab has established a graduate fellowship program that allows students who enroll in the programs of Master of City Planning and Master of Science in Real Estate Development to receive financial support toward tuition and living expenses. Selected Samuel Tak Lee Graduate Fellows (STL Fellows) must be admitted to the master programs by either the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) or Center for Real Estate (CRE), and they must show a proven interest in socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship, especially in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The selection of the STL Fellows will take place on a yearly basis.
How to Apply
- Applicants who want to apply for the STL Fellowships must indicate their interest explicitly in the financial aid section of the application form for admission to the master programs in either DUSP or CRE. There is no separate form to be filled out.
- Applicants must also show in their personal statement how their research interest ties to the mission of the STL Lab. Selected research focuses of the STL Lab include: affordable housing; data and technology; development through private action and entrepreneurship; education on real estate entrepreneurship; environmental aspects of urban growth and investment; land and real property rights; land-use reform regulations and codes; new construction materials; and urban resilience and adaptation.
- Applications for the STL Fellowships will go through the normal review procedure for admission to the programs of Master in City Planning or Master of Sciences in Real Estate Development by the faculty of DUSP and CRE.
- The Champion Professor and the Director of the STL Lab will also review all applications for the STL Fellowships and make recommendations to the faculty.
- The faculty will make the final selection of the STL Fellows.
General Requirements and Selection Criteria:
- STL Fellows must demonstrate interest in the STL Lab's mission which is to advance social responsibility among entrepreneurs and academics in the real estate profession worldwide, with a particular focus on the PRC.
- STL Fellows must show sufficient evidence of financial need to receive the support.
- It is highly desirable that most STL Fellows did not matriculate from first-tier universities in the PRC before attending MIT.
- STL Fellows will participate in STL Lab's research and assist in the development and accomplishment of the Lab's mission.
- Each selected applicant will hold the title of: “Samuel Tak Lee Graduate Fellow.”
For further inquiries, please contact: email@example.com
2016-17 Samuel Tak Lee Graduate Fellows
Max Budovitch is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and has worked in urban planning and refugee resettlement in the United States, Middle East, and Eastern Europe. He is interested in contemporary housing policy in the former Soviet Union and other post-communist spaces. Max has a B.A. in philosophy from Yale University and enjoys surfing, painting, and biking.
Alice Chen joins MIT CRE after four years of experience in real estate development. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Having lived in Hong Kong, China and UK for academic and professional reasons, Alice obtained an international vision regarding diverse lifestyles and thus grew interests in building places to enable them.
Sai Fang graduated from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BUCEA) with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He became a Class I Registered Architect of the People’s Republic of China in 2014. At MIT, Sai hopes to continue his research on public housing, expand his knowledge of real estate finance and investment, and leverage his design skills and management experience to prepare for a leadership role in the real estate industry.
Suneeth John trained as an architect and landscape architect and joins MIT CRE with 15+ years of experience working on award winning domestic and international projects. He holds a B. Arch from University of Kerala (India), and an M.S. Arch and MLA from Penn State University. He is a registered landscape architect (MA), a licensed architect (India), a registered real estate sales person (MA) and a USGBC LEED AP BD+C.
Xuenan Ni is from Jinan, China. She is a first-year student in the Master of City Planning and Master of Science in Transportation dual degree program. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and urban studies from Bryn Mawr College. She is interested in transportation, including transit-oriented development, demand management of public transit, and transportation planning.
Paige Pitcher graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in city and metropolitan planning from the University of Utah. She joins MIT as an STL fellow studying real estate development. Her goal is to expand her affordable housing expertise and create next-gen projects that tackle social and global urbanization issues.
Justin Rice earned his B.B.A. in finance and real estate in 2005. He initially built a foundation in multifamily property and asset management, streamlining maintenance and construction departmental processes, overseeing major capital improvement projects and liaising with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At MIT CRE, Justin will enhance his financial valuation and analytical abilities, study domestic and international economic trends affecting development, and explore new design and construction methods.
Xudong Sun is an MCP student in MIT DUSP. The objectives of his research are (i) to enhance urban design with the applications of data science, and (ii) to study city development issues in China. He has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in architecture from Tsinghua University, China.
Joanne Wong is a first-year student in the Master of City Planning program, with a concentration in housing and economic development. After completing her undergraduate degree in social studies, she worked in the public housing and affordable homeownership sectors in Toronto, Canada. She is interested in socially responsible development in China, particularly the housing sector in Hong Kong, where she spent much of her childhood.
Zhekun Xiong graduated from Tsinghua University, Beijing with his M.Arch and B.Arch. He has researched urban and rural development in developing countries and solutions to problems such as population growth and environmental crisis through urban and architectural design. During his exchange experiences in both Paris Malaquais and University of Manchester, he experimented with data-led solutions in planning to promote civic engagement and social responsibility, and he will continue this research with DUSP.
Zixiao Yin is a student in the MCP program’s international development group. She grew up in Inner Mongolia, China., and earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture and her master’s degree in urban planning from Tsinghua University. During her time in Tsinghua, she learned how rural land and constructional land in cities are transferred and utilized in different systems, which piqued her interest in topics of land leasing, land transferring, property rights, and related issues of law, politics, and economics.
Viola Zhao practiced as a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors prior to coming to MIT. Originally from Northern China, she completed a double major in real estate and finance at The University of Hong Kong, finishing with first class honors in 2012. Fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, Viola holds a particular interest in cross-border investments with the focus on China and the overseas markets.
2015-16 Samuel Tak Lee Graduate Fellows
Karmen Cheung grew up in the heart of New York City’s Chinatown in downtown Manhattan. Her involvement with a community organization devoted to empowering Asian American youth during her high school years, evoked in her a desire to challenge the status quo of political, social, and economic inequalities that exists in America. As an undergraduate at Yale, she studied environmental science and now works at an environmental consulting firm based in Boston. At MIT, she hopes to better understand the strategies through which greater affordable housing options can be developed for disadvantaged communities in the US and the potential applications of these strategies to China.
Saurabh Jalori is interested in architectural design, building science, and real estate development and intends to walk the entrepreneurial path focused on developing high performance, sustainable built environments. His firm belief in the important role played by real estate developers in shaping the nature and future of cities and their inhabitants guides his studies at MIT. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture (‘06) from India and a Master of Building Science (‘13) from Arizona State University, U.S.A.
Dandi Li was Born in China but grew up in Finland and received a B.S. from Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to joining MIT, Dandi worked several years in the development field for international hotel chains such as Fairmont Raffles and Minor International, and assisted their portfolio growth throughout Asia Pacific. At MIT, Dandi is excited to be part of STL Lab and support its mission to encourage socially responsible real estate developments. In particular, with China’s increasing demand for senior care, Dandi is interested in exploring retirement housing options and public and private sector involvement strategies for the development of affordable retirement communities.
Jintai Li has lived and studied in Shandong, Beijing and Barcelona. He studied architecture at Tsinghua University, China and holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. At MIT, he hopes to explore how technologies can change the way planners and developers perceive and engage with urban spaces, especially in terms of publicity and accessibility. He is equally interested in small-scale, mixed-use development in and on the brinks of the “historical” zones in Chinese cities, and has been involved in such design practices in Beijing and Guangzhou. With the experience and thoughts he gained, Jintai seeks to contribute to more socially responsible real estate development in China during his time at the STL Lab.
Yifei Lu is a Master of City Planning '16 student in the City Design and Development group. He obtained a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2010 and worked as an architectural designer for four years before attending DUSP. Currently, he is interested in affordable housing in both the US and international contexts as well as climate change adaptation and resiliency of coastal megacities. He hopes to explore these issues through STL lab's focus on China and research topics pertaining to social and environmental sustainability in real estate development in this still rapidly urbanizing country.
Kevin Murphy graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina in 2010 with a B.S. in Real Estate and Entrepreneurship. In his time as a fellow at the STL Lab, Kevin plans to focus on sustainable growth and development in underserved areas of the world, where continued development in the coming decades will make the most impact on growing economies and natural environments. Through research and collaboration, Kevin will explore ways to make urban planning, development initiatives and smart growth techniques and technologies accessible to a wider audience and to spur interest by entrepreneurs looking to make a difference in emerging markets worldwide.
Waishan Qiu holds a B.E. in Urban Planning from Tongji University, China, and M.ARCH Urban Design with distinction from Bartlett, UCL, UK. He was trained as an interdisciplinary designer throughout various scales. Simulation, sensing, visualizing, and system thinking are his merits. He is focusing on the interaction of computation, information, and urbanism. As cities are hyper dynamic systems, computation ensures an efficient interaction between planners and urban systems. Waishan wants to deploy open source information and real time data to examine the mechanism of how investments couple with the materialized urban structure.
Stacey Spurr graduated magna cum laude from Lehigh University in 2011 with a double major in Finance and Economics. She has worked for two large real estate investment organizations overseeing portfolios of office and industrial properties, and focusing on maximizing each property’s potential through strategic planning, rapid decision making, and actively managing lease negotiations. In her time as a fellow at the STL Lab, Stacey is eager to examine creative, sustainable solutions to the natural tensions that exist between owners, tenants, and the broader urban community and to develop specific, actionable initiatives to promote socially responsible growth and development, consistent with China’s laws and social customs.
David Chin-Fei Wang researches the cultural meaning of mobility in urban China and how it might be understood to create more liveable cities. Most recently David founded the Bamboo Bicycles Beijing, a social enterprise building a community of Beijing residents who design and build their own bicycles out of bamboo. David worked as a Research Manager for China Youthology, conducting ethnographic research for companies like Audi, Mercedes, and Tencent. The purpose was to better understand Chinese youth's cultural aspirations for their lives in urban China. David is a graduate of Pomona College and a US Fulbright Scholar.
Qing Wang graduated from Tsinghua University and joined a prestigious Asian developer and investor, spending six years focused on business development and getting real estate foreign investment into China. Qing brings her study and research interests in innovating business model and government policy for China real estate industry by global cooperation. As China real estate markets are facing growth pressure, Qing thinks that getting global practices of smart growth into China is strategic and practical for the turning-point from "wild growth" to a sustainable future, especially with current Chinese market foundation.
Wangke Wu holds a bachelor's degree from Peking University. He studies (1) eminent domain in China; (2) affordable housing for migrants; and (3) China’s industrial land and rural land markets. Wangke sees land reform—more specifically, allowing rural collective-owned land to be traded freely on the land market—as a way to relieve high home prices in China's big cities, where owning a home is often unattainable. His research may help policy makers understand the essential causes of rising land prices and provide viable solutions.
Wensi Zhai graduated from Tsinghua University in 2010 with a Bachelor degree in Architecture and a Master's degree in Urban Planning and Design. Wensi started her career in real estate industry and worked for Vanke for 5 years. At the STL Lab, Wensi plans to research on sustainable real estate development with concerns of the formation of physical space, the creation of lifestyle and social relationship, and the establishment of innovative business model in developing high quality urban complex. Wensi strongly believes in the transformative power of real estate in shaping the built environment and hopes to become a catalyst for sustainable and responsible development in China and worldwide.
Related News & Events
1. What was the initial purpose of MIT in establishing this MSRED degree?
Prof. Albert Saiz: Historically, many individuals who work in real estate have acquired their skills on the job. However, as the business of real estate has become more complex in structure and more international in scope, the industry has recognized the need for a more sophisticated and specialized education. Meanwhile, the US real estate industry was experiencing a deepening, from a build-and-sell-quick paradigm to an increased focus on quality and the development of secondary markets: investments, property management, investments management, leasing, secondary transactions, infill re-development, renovations on the existing stock . This shift in the real estate industry also required sophisticated knowledge and education. In 1983 an MIT alum, Charles “Hank” Spaulding established the Center for Real Estate at MIT. Spaulding was a prominent real estate developer himself and he had the vision to improve the quality of the built environment and to promote a more informed professional practice within the global real estate industry. MIT’s one year MSRED program, the first in the country, educates students in the full range of skills required of real estate professionals, from finance, construction, human capital to urban planning, physical design, law, contracts, asset management, micro economics, and so on.
Samuel Tak Lee Graduate Fellow Zixiao Yin plans to serve communities back home in Inner Mongolia.
Growing up in Inner Mongolia, graduate student Zixiao Yin saw firsthand the effects of poor urban planning. As China underwent record growth, a mining boomtown intended for 1 million people rose from the desert in the neighboring district — but when the economy crashed in 2008, blocks and blocks of empty office buildings and houses created a “ghost city” on the steppe.
On September 8, 2016, the incoming class of 2016-2017 STL MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab graduate fellows introduced their background and interests, and were formally oriented to the Lab’s work and immediate goals. The graduate fellows were joined by members of the executive and advisory staff who touched on the Lab’s ongoing programs including recent work on creating real estate games, the success of last year’s China Summer Camp, the continuing China Talk Series, and the development of MIT Case Studies.
The MIT Department of Urban Studies (DUSP), Center for Real Estate (CRE), and the Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL Lab) have announced the inaugural class of STL Fellows, welcoming 12 master's students to MIT to study socially responsible real estate development and global urbanization.